Friday, July 18, 2014

4 Reasons Why Your Afrokids Natural Hair Products Are NOT Working

By DiscoveringNatural
Have you ever wondered why one product works for your child and another product does not? Even though both products are from the same brand, you might still have issues getting it to do what you want to do. The reason for this disappointment could be due to the following four reasons.

1. Ingredients
Whenever I want to buy a hair product for my girls, I read the ingredient list on the product. Not everyone does this, but I find that there are some ingredients that cause damage to our natural hair. Silicones, Mineral Oil, and Sulfates, to mention a few, are such ingredients. I notice that these causes the girls' hair to be dry and break off and so I always avoid these ingredients in their hair products. Instead, I look for products that has moisture agents like humectant and emollients such as glycerin.

2. Hair Texture
Natural hair is a thing of beauty. There are different varieties, from the coarsely dense to the thin fine ones.  Products react differently to these different types of textures. I find that hair that is fine requires lighter products, while coarser and denser hair textures requires heavier products.

3. Usage
Although hair product companies usually add an instruction on how to use their products effectively, a lot of us often do not follow those directions. To get the best results, I suggest following the directions so you can get the most out of the product.

4. Weather/Climate/Season
The weather can cause a product that use to work before not to work. For example, in the warmer season, my younger daughter, Lil Sis, can use SheaMoisture Curl Enhancing Smoothie on her hair, however, in the colder season, the product makes her hair feel dry. During the seasons when her hair does not fair well with a promising product, we just switch over to another one. In our case, that is the SheaMoisture Curl and Style Milk.

Which products do not work on your child's natural hair?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

5 Types of People Who Should be Obsessed With Length Checks

 One of the top goals which many of us set for ourselves when we start a healthy hair journey is to have long hair. While long hair can be an easy goal for many, growing one's hair long within a limited time frame can be very challenging and frustrating for someone with slow growth and low retention rate. It is this frustration that has led many of us to engage in unconventional hair growth aides such as the inversion method, ingesting hair growth pills, protective styling 24/7, applying layers of hair growth products and anything else that's known to grow one's hair FAST.

Many naturals have even decided to forego all these methods by solely focusing on the health of their hair with the hopes of achieving long hair in the long run. Like hair typing, length checks is almost becoming a taboo in the natural hair community where many naturals are condemning length checks because they believe the main goal should be on the health of the hair, not length.
Contrary to this popular belief, I strongly believe in a healthy length check which is done at a spaced out interval mostly because long hair doesn't come easily to many of us and this is the only way we can ensure that we're achieving our hair goals.

So, who should be obsessing over length? I would obsess over length and retention rate if I fall under any of the 5 categories below.

slow growth low retention rate
1. Newbies - This includes someone who recently did the big chop and is on a healthy long hair journey , it also includes someone who is transitioning from relaxed to natural hair. A newbie is also someone who has had natural hair for a while and would now like to achieve better and healthier results than what they've experienced in the past.

The reason why this group should be length conscious is because they are more likely to try out different hair styles, products, techniques, concoction, pills and other measures which are meant to help their hair grow long. However, if care isn't taken, the hair can easily break off due to over manipulation and experimentation.

2. Fine Hair - Hair that is fine lacks the inner most layer called the medulla, an important structure which provides medium to thick/coarse hair strength and the ability to better withstand physical and environmental manipulation. This is why it's always recommended that those with fine hair should wear protective styles more often so that the individual fine strands can find strength in a greater multitude. What I mean by this is that 200 pieces of twisted hair is much stronger and better able to hold on to moisture much longer than individual hair strands which is left loose. 

3. On a Diet- What we put in our body is more important than what we put on it, as this is the only way we can determine the outcome of new hair growth. A diet which is lacking key hair nutrients such as protein, folic acid and omega-3 fatty acids can result in limp dry hair or retarded growth. If you find that your hair isn't growing, I would recommend adding any one of these 10 food items to your diet.

4.  On Special Medication - Similarly, certain medications that we take can affect our hair growth cycle and the overall health of the hair. So if you are on a medication which is affecting your hair growth and length retention, I would advice that you either seek medical help or wear protective styles more often so that you can retain the length that you currently have. You should not  under any circumstance try to counter the effect of your medication with a hair growth vitamin or pill without talking to your doctor first.

5. Highly Porous and/or chronically dry hair - one of the main issues which many coily haired women struggle with is dryness and breakage. Hair which is worn in a loose hairstyle such as a twist out is more likely to become dry very quickly in comparison to hair which is left in twists or in another bounded hairstyles. To retain length, I suggest using thick hair creams and butters to ensure that moisture stays in the hair for a longer period of time.

In conclusion, it's okay for you to be length conscious if you are a newbie, on a diet, taking medications, or if you have fine and/or highly porous hair. So don't be shy to whip out your tape measure to measure your hair every month or two if you have to.

Do you have a hard time retaining length? Have you decided to stop doing length checks due to past disappointments? If you fall under one or more of these categories, do you find yourself obsessing over length because long hair doesn't come easily to you? 

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Quick Look into the Natural Hair Community

I recently read a series of highly controversial blogposts on BGLH about the inclusion and exclusivity of the natural hair community and so I've decided to share my opinion about the posts on here. Please click the link above to read all three posts so you can understand this follow up post a bit better.

Let's first re-define what natural hair is.
I feel that many people do not understand what natural hair really is and why the online community was birth. Though it might be too late to change the incorrect use of the term "natural hair", it's still not too late for us to understand what natural hair really is. To me, the term natural hair is synonymous to afro-textured hair which ranges from curly to kinky coil hair texture. This means that anyone with an African gene with naturally curly/coily hair can be said to have natural hair.

So who is the natural hair community meant for?
It's a community which is consisted of Black women, men and children with afro-kinky or curly hair, even if they're mixed. This community also consists of non-Black women with Black children, friends and relatives who are constantly searching for tips on curly hair care.

Are Black women with naturally straight hair also included in this community?
From my observation, I believe they're not a part of the community because every internet search with "natural hair" always produces Black people with afro-textured hair and more recently, afro-textured weave.

Why do we have the natural hair community (NHC)?

1. The first reason is to provide women (major audience) with tips on how to love their hair more by properly caring for it so that it can behave the way they want it to behave.

2. Another reason is to provide an online support and encouragement to women and children who are struggling to wear their hair in its natural state due to their knowledge gaps about afro-textured hair. 3.

3. The NHC is also a platform to show solidarity to women who are constantly facing resistance in their immediate community. This community is so outspoken and influential that they've provoked change in policies each time a member of the community faces a threat in their society.

4. The last critical reason for the existence of this community is to develop our "hair economy" by all means necessary, be it through purchasing products from black owned businesses or spreading the word about them on social media.

Who is REALLY in the natural hair community?
EVERYONE! From the Chinese who makes your weaves to the Koreans who sells them as well as Caucasians who makes a significant profit from your favourite "Black" hair products. This community also includes Black women with relaxed hair, naturally straight hair, non Black women with Black kids, and pretty much anyone.
Though I don't have the statistics on the hair type of the hundreds of thousands of fans who are following popular vloggers on social media, I can assure you that a good portion of those fans do not have "natural hair".

Who is excluded from the community?
NO ONE, as this is an online community which is open to anyone with access to the internet. I understand that many relaxed women sometimes feel excluded from the community, and some have even come to resent the same group they're a part of! Because the community is fast growing, many netizens have confused it to be an online space for every Black woman on the planet, though it's only a niche for a small group of women.

Why is the NHC so controversial these days?
From my observation, I notice that there is still a big knowledge gap on what the community is really all about. I say this because many people often argue over facts and are unable to separate their perception from reality. The unnecessary controversies is an evidence that we still have a long way to go when it comes to our hair, and it will take a long time to get there. Nevertheless, I am confident that our people will not perish for a lack of knowledge because the growing audience of the NHC will continue to educate their peers about the nature of their hair. I feel the only way there will be a unity in the community is through DAILY words of wisdom and constant awareness about the community until natural hair eventually becomes an ideal and preferred hairstyle for ALL (including non-Black citizens).

My general thoughts about the BGLH article
As mentioned in one of the articles, I don't think the NHC creates a division or any sort of discrimination in the Black community. I believe it's a crucial community which was created as a result of the high demand for it in a society where European beauty standard is set to be THE beauty standard for ALL. I feel readers who are constantly searching for faults in the NHC need to read up on their history and empathize with others who are finding it difficult to flaunt their hair, rather than condemning them. I think it's too late for anybody to bring this community down as it's TOO BIG TO FAIL.

What are your thoughts? Is there anything you agree or disagree with? I'd like to hear from you

Friday, July 11, 2014

6 Tips | Growing Your Afrokid’s Natural Hair Long

via Pintrest 

Black hair is a very unique hair texture which requires extra attention and patience, and so for your daughter's hair to grow to it’s full length, it will need to be treated with total loving care (TLC). While hair growth is passive, length retention is the greatest contribution to how long the hair can grow. THis is because hair which isn't taken care off will easily break off and it will make it seem like it's not growing. 

Like adults, kids are also capable of attaining long lengths. If you're frustrated with your daughter's stunted growth, I recommend putting these six tips into practice.  

1. Ensure the hair stays moisturized most of the time. For tips on how to keep your child’s moisturized, please click this link

2. Keep the hair bounded most of the time. Hair which is braided, twisted, flat twisted and bunned up is more likely to retain moisture for a longer period of time than a free flowing afro which looses moisture to the atmosphere at an accelerated rate.

3. Love your child’s hair and make sure she loves it too. Your perception towards your child's hair will determine how much care you give to it. This means that hair which is loved will receive a greater attention over hair which isn't.

4. Speak positive things to your child about her hair. Aside from loving her hair, your child should also hear your say beautiful things about her hair such as thick, full, curly, coily, stretchy, bouncy e.t.c. These positive affirmation instills confidence in your child and they will help her to deal with negative criticisms she will most likely receive from peers and relatives.  

5. Teach your child healthy hair practices such as the importance of clean hair and how to put her hair away at night. Depending on the age of your child, you can also get her involved in her hair routines and most importantly, wash day routines.

6. Read, watch, like and comment on children’s hair care websites such as this one, DiscoveringNatural, CurlyUncurly and follow the facebook page “Mommy & Me Coily Hair Time” 

What other tips would you add to this list?

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Fight Against Frizz in Natural Hair

Natural Hair
By DiscoveringNatural
Frizz...frizz...frizz. With the summer here, frizz has dominated all our styles and we all need ways to fight against the frizz. A quick disclaimer...
Frizz is part of Natural Hair. Although there are ways to control it for a while, frizz always wins.

With that being said, here are some ways to fight against Frizz.

Products that Contribute to Frizz
There are some products that are known to create frizz and there are products that we can use in reducing the frizz. Many naturals have found that products high in glycerin can create frizz and puffiness in children's hairstyle because of this fact:

For the purpose of providing moisture to your hair, glycerin will attract the moisture in the air and bring it into your hair. Since moisture is more in the summer, this works well IF YOU WANT MOISTURE PULL INTO YOUR HAIR. However, introducing moisture-inducing agent to a style like twistout and braidout will cause your hair to be frizzy even if it feels moisturized. The way I think of it is like this, do I want moisture and then embrace the frizz? If I do not want the frizz, then I stay away from the glycerin when styling my hair. 

Styling Options
There are some styles that show more frizz than others. "Out Styles" such as twistout, braidout, bantu knot out and flat twist out will get frizzy quicker than "Protective Styles" such as cornrows, threading, braids.  When you decided to do your child's hair, take note of this. The out styles will need more maintenance than the protective styles when it comes to controlling the frizz. Styles like puffs and buns only need minimum frizz control along the edges. This can be resolved by applying non-alcoholic gel and tying down the hair with a scarf for at least 10 minutes.

What can help
I have found that using products that do not contain glycerin helps. However, if you have a product that contains glycerin, make sure that this ingredient is not listed as the first five ingredients. After moisturizing the hair, use a non-alcoholic styling gel. This provides hold and helps minimize the frizz. Prior to going outside, tame the frizz by tying down a scarf onto your child's head.

How do you control the frizz in your child's Natural Hair?